Pant-Soiling Scenes #26: The Haunted

The surprisingly creepy 1991 made-for-TV chiller The Haunted would make a good subject for a future Conjuring sequel.

So the FX are cheap as Microsoft Paint doodle quality, but the faceless blob that appears a few times tormenting the family is genuinely unsettling, such as here, where the Smurl clan escape their haunted abode for a weekend camping, only to find the blob has followed them!

the haunted 1991

Welcome to Australia

wolf creek tv series 2016

WOLF CREEK (TV SERIES)

4 Stars  2016/288m

Directors: Tony Tilse (5 episodes), Greg McLean (2 episode) / Writers: Felicity Packard & Peter Gawker / Cast: John Jarratt, Lucy Fry, Dustin Clare, Jessica Tovey, Fletcher Humphrys, Deborah Mailman, Jake Ryan, Richard Cawthorne, Eddie Baroo, Matt Levett.

Body Count: 24


TV was the new movies in the 2000s, with bigger budgets, drawn out arcs sucking in squillions of viewers that your favourite movie could never. Legal dramas, police procedurals, mafia families, drug dealers, vampire hunters, and trundling along at the rear, like the runt of the horror litter it’s often seen as, slasher tales.

First came Harper’s Island, then Scream – The TV Seriesand the risible Scream Queens, the subtley titled Slasherand now from down under, Wolf Creek.

On the back of the pair of brutal homegrown Aussie flicks, which chronicled the never ending killing spree of the outback’s answer to Freddy Krueger, Mick Taylor, as he raped, pillaged, and knifed nubile tourists who ventured beyond the city limits. Based on the real crimes of backpacker murderer Ivan Milat, Wolf Creek‘s gritty and repellent presentation of vulnerable outsiders thrown into a truly nightmarish situation resulted in a film even found too intense to return to.

wolf creek tv series mick taylor john jarratt 2016

At the end of Wolf Creek 2 in 2013, Mick once again evaded capture and death and lived to hunt another day. The TV series starts with Taylor doing what he does so well: Killing. Selecting the American Thorogood family, who unwisely park their huge RV at a billabong where pre-teen son Ross is almost chomped by a saltwater crocodile, Mick shoots the reptile and is invited to supper. While Mom and Dad chatter, 19-year-old daughter Eve finds their guest a bit much and goes to lie down with some music.

Mick makes quick work of the parents and little brother, and goes after Eve, who, as a committed athlete, bolts for her life, but is shot down in the distance. Unable to find her body, raspy-voiced Mick chalks it up to croc bait and burns down the RV and disposes of all evidence of murder. Eve is rescued by some birdwatchers the next day.

wolf creek tv series 2016 lucy fry

Detective Sullivan Hill is assigned to the case and carries an ever-growing folder of possible crimes committed by the anonymous psycho in the outback. His attempts to put Eve on a plane back to the US are foiled when she runs away, steals the folder, buys a van and takes off in the direction of the crime.

Over the next few episodes, Eve follows Mick’s trail of murder around the desolate outback of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, while Hill follows her. She befriends a stray dog (named ‘Dog’) and finds herself in a series of bizarre and deadly situations, from being arrested for possession of weed (which was left in the van she bought by its previous owner), escaping prison, stealing cash and a gun from a biker gang, facing off a would-be rapist, solving a murder, and researching Mick’s previous murders. Each episode has a small arc within the greater story, as Eve goes from teary victim to woman warrior.

wolf creek tv series 2016

Of course, this journey is anything but smooth: Eve steps in bear-traps, is attacked by horny blokes at least twice, bitten by a venomous snake, and almost murdered by a crazy subterranean dweller. She also finds time to go all Daniel LaRusso with an outback saviour, who teacher her the aboriginal way of throwing a spear – something that’ll come in handy later, of course.

Original creator Greg McLean declared that Wolf Creek in this incarnation is less about Mick than it is Eve, and, wisely, the killer is limited in his appearances, cropping up here and there, stalking and killing a few poor folks as his and Eve’s paths grow ever closer to crossing: After a couple of episodes, he is aware someone has survived and is out to find him, he murders her would-be rapist, they ask about one another at the same roadhouse, with Hill just a heartbeat behind.

wolf creek tv series 2016

Elsewhere, the hoodwinked bikers are chasing her, allowing for an amazingly funny interchange when one of them catches up with her, proclaiming he needs a woman to give him kids instead of killing her. The Wolf Creek movies featured generous slabs of dark humour from Mick, but additional skits from background players here do a lot to endear the viewer to the production.

As things wrap up in the final two episodes (of a perfectly pitched six), Eve tracks Taylor to a drinking hole, which also – a little too conveniently – is frequented by a mad local known as Jesus, who is revealed to be Ben, only survivor of the first movie. Weird that they never ran into one another? She is finally able to put a lid on the biker situation, and follows clues left by Mick to lead her to the Wolf Creek Crater and then his lair.

wolf creek tv series 2016 john jarratt lucy fry

The only arguable flaw at this juncture is the appearance of Mick’s backstory in black and white flashbacks to his childhood, which serve as the starting point to his murderous career. It denigrates his repulsive character to some degree, almost drawing sympathy from the audience, and aligning him even closer to Freddy Krueger than before, as he appears behind Eve with a few witty remarks at his disposal, further cementing the similarity.

So it comes down to survivor versus legendary maniac in a final showdown that seems over a little too soon, and lacks an amount of finality that points towards a second series in the future – but how can Mick survive what Eve finally does to him?

wolf creek tv series 2016 dustin clare

Much IMDb crying occurred over the series being too slow, Eve not being ‘right’ to take on Mick, and him not being in it enough. However, keeping the tempo of the films over almost five hours is never likely to work and would not be sustainable, and largely physically impossible for the characters. It was 100% the right decision to keep Taylor in the shadows as much as possible. Eve is also the perfect opponent – an outsider in every possible way, a recovering opiate addict, and an unlikely survivor.

Easily the best slasher series on virtually every level, from the lush production values, use of the agoraphobic Australian landscape, where, despite so much space, there’s still nowhere you can run. Jarratt, Fry, and the impossibly handsome Clare all put in excellent performances, and every bit-parter makes an impression, Dog included. Given this was almost the 700th slasher ‘thing’ I’ve seen, for me to find it so fresh and binge-watch over two days underscores just how much I loved Wolf Creek. So great.

wolf creek tv series 2016 lucy fry

P.S., that full frontal nudity? It’s a guy.

Blurbs-of-interest: Jarratt also featured in Next of Kin and Needle.

Dildo Defence

bastard 2015 dvd

BASTARD

3 Stars  2015/18/82m

“The lucky ones die first.”

Director: Powell Robinson, Patrick R. Young / Writer: Patrick R. Young / Cast: Rebekah Kennedy, Ellis Greer, Dan Creed, Tonya Kay, Will Tranfo, Burt Culver.

Body Count: 9

Laughter Lines: “Logic dictates you shut your whore-mongering mouth!”


This strange indie production has a whole lot more going on than your average teens-in-the-woods slasher film, distinguishing itself with complex characters, oddball situations, and lots of grue. Imagine Mountaintop Motel Massacre (with better production values) by way of some cult 70s grindhouse killer-couple flick… if you can?

Unavoidable spoilers must follow to paint this picture with any degree of accuracy.

So, West and Hannah are newlyweds in their own band who have no qualms about killing people to furnish themselves with better cars, free things, and say ‘cunt’ a lot.

Jake and Betty are teenage runaways from an apparently abusive parental situation, trying to make it somewhere on their own. He’s all optimistic, she wants to go home.

bastard 2015

Michael is a suicidal transvestite policeman with a drink problem and confronting in-car tapes that tell him to stop being a pussy.

Fresh from killing some schmuck and appropriating his convertible, West and Hannah pick up Jake and Betty and the four of them end up in a small town with just the one B&B – owned by the happy and welcoming Rachel. Elsewhere, a horny couple engaged in some serious S&M play have been murdered by the lake near the hotel.

Hannah is in a very bad mood which only worsens when West doesn’t return from burying the body of their car’s former owner. He’s bumped into a baby-masked loon who swishes a lethal cleaver.

bastard 2015

In the morning, Rachel leads her guests (and Michael) on a forest hike. Hannah goes off to find West but instead bumps into the killer and fights back with a giant dildo she finds in the sand (belonging to our dead couple from the previous day). In a truly never-been-done-before moment of genius, the dildo flies in slow motion to strike the killer across the chops while Ave Maria plays, but Hannah receives a hook in the thigh for her trouble.

The alarm is soon raised, more bodies quickly drop before it’s revealed Rachel is the killer (guessed it right – yeah!!) Only Hannah and Betty remain, and it’s revealed that not only is the latter is pregnant with Jake’s baby, but he’s also her brother! Bastard loves to toss these curveballs.

Now, the final act sees Betty tied to a bed and forced to watch a video montage of Rachel’s miserable life in a pseudo-explanation of her crimes. She wants the baby for herself is the simple answer – alas I watched very late at night and had to have the volume down so I missed a few whispy parts of dialogue. Still, Hannah comes bursting to the rescue, affording Betty the chance to escape. But will she?

bastard 2015

Bastard has a strong feminist vibe to it: The three crucial parts are all played by women – killer, final girl, and (would-be) saviour. Also, we only see male’s killed on screen, pretty much stomping most of the “this is sexist!” critique the genre puts up with to dust.

I’ve seen so many slasher films now that it’s nice to see one that doesn’t quite follow the rules and goes off on little mad tangents rather than sticking rigidly to Teen have sex > Teens die like many of its contemporaries.

Drive Out

drive in 2000 dvd

DRIVE IN

2 Stars  2000/18/81m

“Park and hide.”

Director/Writer: Charles DeBus / Cast: Brenton Earley, Deshja Driggs, Rick Perkins, Alex Grant, Hud Floyd, Roger Motti, Eric Jungman, Don Mandingo, Elise Robins, Scott Ford, Morgana Rae, Pamela Moore Somers, Taneka Johnson, Jennifer Pfalzgraff, Kasan Butcher.

Body Count: 13


Hulking retard Billy Morrow has never permissibly left the confines of his house, where his neglectful, politically obsessed mother keeps him under lock and key and supervised by a bitchy camp houseboy. He derives all pleasure from staring at the drive in across the street, which plays endless gory Troma films.

One night, Billy is pushed too far, kills his carer and escapes to stalk the teen patrons of the drive in theater in an imitation of what he sees on screen. Victims include many a necking-teenager, plus the refreshment stand girl, security guard, and local drug dealer. And although the murders aren’t nearly as gory as those glimpsed on the film screen – mainly stranglings and bludgeonings – Billy shows some potential by impaling a poor sucker with a sign pole and burning the face off another in red hot nacho cheese…!

This so-so quality shot-on-video flick also hinges its theme around the violence-in-entertainment issue: The assumed nominal hero is a dateless high schooler who spouts that statistics that slasher movies influence true-life crime, and Billy’s mom’s fiancé is more concerned about gaining bad press for their campaign by being seen in the sleazy drive in than he is about the growing stack of corpses about the joint.

drive in 2000

There’s dodgy acting galore, both in the Troma clips (which include that shoddy electrocution from Girls School Screamers and Beware! Children at Play) and from the teens-in-peril, but given its meagre price tag, this still has virtually everything that Drive-In Massacre hasn’t and is about ten thousand times better. The final girl goes for it big time, shrieking “Why don’t you just DIE! DIE! DIE!” and there’s a cast member named Hud, which is always good.

Beware of the DVD box, which features several stills that aren’t even in the film.

Blurbs-of-interest: Eric Jungman was later in Monster Man; Kasan Butcher was in Jeepers Creepers II.

Mirror Man

boogey man 1980

THE BOOGEY MAN

3 Stars  1980/82m

“The most terrifying nightmare of childhood is about to return!”

Director/Writer: Ulli Lommel / Cast: Suzanna Love, Ron James, John Carradine, Nicholas Love, Felicite Morgan, Bill Rayburn, Llewelyn Thomas, Raymond Boyden.

Body Count: 9


This weird as fuck film, and resident of the British Video Nasty list, begins with a westward steadicam pan to reveal a white house while a piano tinkers. For a second, you might well think you’re watching Halloween instead, but as the camera floats closer, you realise it’s one of the first of a zillion rip-offs.

Two small children watch at the window as their mom gets it on with a guy in a wifebeater who wears a stocking over his head like any garden variety rapist. She shoos the children away and the wifebeater guy ties the boy to his bed. While mom and wifebeater get it on, a child’s hand grabs a big knife and we float down the corridor with it in shot. But it’s the little sister, come to cut her brother free. Of course, big bro then takes the knife and stabs wifebeater to death with it. Credits please.

boogey man 1980

Twenty years later (never nineteen, never twenty-one), the siblings Lacey and Willy live with their aunt at her farm. Lacey is married with a sprog, but Willy is mute and brimming with trauma still. When they receive a letter from Mom asking to see them one more time, Lacey goes a bit mental and her husband carts her off to the shrink, John Carradine (who shot all his scenes in one day). Doc suggests that she go back to the house where it happened for closure.

This has all taken a long boring time to happen, so something good needs to happen soon, Boogey Man, or you’re going to look as boring as your 2005 namesake.

Mercifully, it does. Touring the house with the permission of the three young siblings living there, Lacey finds that the bedroom where the murder happened has the same mirror on the wall and, in the film’s only genuinely creepy moment, she can see wifebeater man in the reflection, stocking still over his face, watching her back… sitting up… getting of the bed… coming for her…

boogey man 1980

What’s scarier – the ghost or that vile curtain?

So she smashes the mirror with a chair.

While this is probably what most of us would’ve done too, unbeknownst to Lacey, the mirror is now cursed and various splinters and shards of it contain the eeeeevil of THE BOOGEY MAN! Who is he though? Wifebeater dude? No one ever explains.

After they leave with the remains of the mirror, a piece of the glass left behind on the carpet glows and throbs and the invisible killer stalks the three siblings, making one of the girls stab herself in the neck with scissors (after cutting open her top, perv!), slams the window down on her annoying little brother, and I can’t remember what happened to the other girl. Obviously nothing interesting.

boogey2

Back at the house – the fucking Amityville house! – weird things begin to happen. Willy is all freaked out by the mirror, and little bits of it fall off here and there. One piece gets stuck to Lacey’s son’s shoe so that when they go fishing later, the sun bounces off it across the water to a quartet of sexy teens having a picnic on the other shore. Mucho POV work occurs as the Boogeyman invisibly stalks and kills a couple of them in an amusing, proto-Final Destination way.

Lacey is attacked by the invisible man, who rips her clothes, and husband guy finally agrees that shit ain’t right, but by then it’s too late for the aunt and uncle and a priest is summond to the house in a sloppy Exorcist finale with a crucifix, lots of bleeding, and the mirror eventually being lobbed down a well – AS IF THAT’LL STOP IT!

boogey man 1980

Everyone and their grandma knows that shards of it will survive for the inevitable sequels, neither of which I’ve seen, but have sub-2.0 ratings on IMDb and one, or possibly both, is chiefly made up of footage from this film, a la Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2.

Despite it’s ornate weirdness, unsatisfying end and Halloween pilfering, The Boogey Man at least tried to approach the genre from another perspective with the supernatural element shoehorned into proceedings, rather than another guy in a mask. Parts of it work, other parts fail harder than a Donald Trump spellchecker.

This is one film that actually would benefit from a remake, perhaps incorporating themes of the similarly-plotted Oculus.

boogey man 1980

Blurbs-of-interest: Suzanne Love and Lommel (married at the time) returned for the first sequel; Nicholas Love was in Fatal Games; John Carradine was in Silent Night Bloody Night.

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